Overnight we took a closer look at the new Crimson 16.7.1 video card driver that AMD released as it contains a number of fixes and improvements for the Radeon RX 480 graphics card. These drives improve the Radeon RX 480 video cards power distribution by lowering the current drawn from the PCIe bus and increasing the power drawn by the 6-pin PCIe connector to the systems power supply. There is also a new UI toggle under the Global Settings in the Radeon Software app that allows you to reduce the total power of the card, but it comes off by default. AMD also improved performance in some game titles like Total War: Warhammer, Metro Last Light, Far Cry 4, Witcher 3 and 3DMark by up to 3%.
We aren’t sure why AMD used ‘Compatibility Mode’ as the name for the Radeon RX 480 power fix, but that is what they went with and it can be found under ‘Global Graphics’ settings. When this mode is enabled AMD lowers the power draw on all +12V power sources evenly in order to meet the 5.5A power draw recommendation for the x16 PCI Express motherboard slot. We don’t have the advanced power monitoring equipment needed to measure the power draw on each rail at the card, but sites like PC Perspective do and claim that is brings the power down enough not to worry about it. Since we can’t do the proper power tests we’ll just be looking at raw peformance.
This is the third driver for the AMD Radeon RX 480 since it came out a little more than a week ago and since it claims to fix the power draw issue and change performance we thought it might be worthwhile to take a look at it since we want to make sure our performance charts are accurate.
For this article we will be comparing the original RX 480 public driver (Crimson 16.6.2 WHQL) to Crimson 16.7.1 Beta that came out yesterday afternoon. We ran the Crimson 16.7.1 Beta drivers with Compatibility mode enabled and disabled to see what happened to performance.
Let’s run these three Radeon RX 480 card configurations and see how performance looks on a few benchmarks.